Home Repair and Remodeling

Many people are unaware of the harm that improper home repair and construction practices can cause to our rivers and streams. Loose sediment from remodeling sites can be picked up by wind and water, clogging storm drains and polluting rivers. These sediments are often contaminated with pesticides, cleaning solvents, rusting nails, paint, cement wash, asphalt, and vehicle fluids that further add to water pollution.

Check the information and tips below on avoiding erosion problems, working with concrete and plaster, working with paint, and remodeling pointers that will help prevent storm water pollution in your community.

Avoiding Erosion Problems
Poor construction practices can result in erosion problems and can increase soil loss. Sediment loss can clog storm drains, creating drainage or flooding problems as well as water quality problems.  To avoid these types of erosion problems, you can do the following.

    • Cover excavated and other grassless areas with plastic tarps.
    • Cover construction materials with plastic tarps.
    • Prevent erosion by seeding bare spots quickly after your construction project has been completed.  To get quicker results, you can plant a mix of fast-growing grasses, such as annual rye, with grasses that take longer to germinate.

Working with Concrete and Plaster
Concrete, mortar, and plaster materials can be washed away when wet or can be blown into the street, gutters, or storm drains before being mixed. Some concrete materials can poison or otherwise harm aquatic life. Improper care and disposal of concrete materials can also increase the threat of flooding to you and your neighbors. Below are some tips for proper handling of these materials.

    • Buy only the amount of concrete or plaster needed and follow the directions for mixing.
    • Store bags of cement and plaster in plastic containers to protect them from rainfall, runoff, and wind.
    • Never dispose of powdered cement in gutters or storm drains. Instead, sweep up spills and dispose of with trash.
    • Never wash excess concrete into the storm sewer or gutters when cleaning up after a concrete project.

Working with Paint
Some paints and solvents contain chemicals that are harmful to aquatic life. Make sure that you use such products with care. Below is information for disposing of used paint and guidelines you can use for environmentally-safe painting practices.

Disposing of Used Paint

Unfortunately, there are no local outlets for recycling or disposing of paint.  The best way to dispose of latex and oil-based paint is to allow it to dry, and then it can be safely disposed of with your regular household wastes.  The drying process can be speeded by mixing the paint with cat litter, sawdust, by leaving the paint can lid off, or by pouring the paint onto paper.  Used paint should never be dumped into the storm drain. Remember – these storm drains do not lead to a treatment plant – they empty directly into our rivers and streams.

Household Hazardous Waste Voucher Program

The Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District and Environmental Enterprises have partnered to offer a disposal voucher for Clermont residents looking to dispose of hazardous wastes around their homes.  If a resident is willing to bring the hazardous materials to Environmental Enterprise’s location at 4650 Spring Grove Avenue in Cincinnati, the Solid Waste District will issue that resident a voucher for payment.  All the resident has to do is call the District at 732-7745 and let them know what hazardous materials they have.  The District will mail the voucher, which the resident will take along with the materials to Environmental Enterprises, and the District will pick up the disposal fee.

Environmentally-safe Painting Practices

    • Check the label to determine the type of paint you are using. Consider using water-based paints for your project; they are more environmentally friendly than oil-based ones.
    • Use as much of the paint on the brush as possible.
    • For water-based paints, wash used brushes in the sink
    • For oil-based paints, clean used brushes with paint thinner and let the paint particles settle in the jar of thinner. Pour the uncontaminated part of the thinner into a new jar and reuse for another project.
    • Never clean brushes or rinse paint containers where the paint could flow to a storm drain, gutter, or street.
    • Brushes, empty cans, cans with small amounts of leftover latex paint, rags, and drop cloths that are unusable for future projects can be dried and disposed with other household trash.
    • Paint thinner and stripping are considered hazardous waste and need to be taken to the proper disposal locations.  Call the Solid Waste District at 732-7745 for disposal options.
    • Sweep up and throw away paint chips and dust.
    • Save leftover paint for touchups or donate to local churches, schools, or other community organizations.
    • Experiment with safer paint and stain alternatives.

General Remodeling Pointers
Below are general guidelines that should be followed when possible for any home repair or remodeling project.

    • If possible, schedule projects in drier months when water runoff from construction sites will not be as much of a problem.
    • Try to limit leftover project materials.
    • Take care of your materials. Avoid exposing materials to weather conditions such as wind and rain. Do not allow your materials to blow away or get carried off by water runoff.
    • Clean up spills immediately. Use dry methods whenever possible.
    • Follow the use and cleanup instructions on all product labels.
    • When possible, use nontoxic, biodegradable, and recyclable products.  Check the Eco Safety Products web site for alternative ideas.
    • Keep all construction debris away from storm drains, streets, and gutters.
    • Avoid potential erosion problems.  Cover bare areas during the project with tarps, and seed bare areas as soon as possible (see the section on erosion).
    • Experiment with recycled glass, tile, cotton insulation, and other environmentally-friendly building materials.